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Best Independent Publishers in 2024

Showing 37 indie publishers that match your search.

Publisher of: Fiction and Short Fiction

This Manhattan-based press releases 90 books a year, making it relatively big for an indie publisher. It’s especially well-known among mystery connoisseurs for its Soho Crime imprint, which specializes in top-notch thrillers with a strong sense of place, a bit like traditional detective fiction crossed with travelogue. Whether it takes place in Denmark or Thailand, a Soho Crime title will set the scene so vividly you’ll feel you’re walking alongside the detective down those minutely rendered streets. Soho also publishes YA through Soho Teen and literary fiction through Soho Press proper.

🔥 Hit title: The Thief by Fuminori Nakamura and Satoko Izumo (translator)

⭐️ Best known for: Literary Fiction, Mysteries, YA

💌 Accepts unagented submissions? Yes, in the form of Full Manuscripts. View guidelines →

Publisher of: Fiction, Nonfiction, and Poetry

This storied Canadian publisher has been running out of Toronto since 1967. In that time, it’s grown from a one-man operation to a North American indie powerhouse, publishing prominent authors like Margaret Atwood and Michael Ondaatje. As it makes headway into its sixth decade of operation, House of Anansi remains as committed as ever to promoting Canadian literature, including French-Canadian books in translation, and work by First Nations authors.

🔥 Hit title: How Should a Person Be? by Sheila Heti

⭐️ Best known for: Memoirs, Literary Fiction

💌 Accepts unagented submissions? Yes, in the form of Book Proposals, Full Manuscripts. View guidelines →

Publisher of: Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, and Short Fiction

This indie publisher got its start because Ezra Pound didn’t believe in a certain Harvard undergrad’s future in poetry. James Laughlin, then a college sophomore, went to the legendary modernist for advice. And Pound, who had been critiquing his work all semester, urged him to give up writing and “do something useful” instead. Thus New Directions Publishing was born. Laughlin retained a love for verse, so the budding press’s first books were poetry anthologies and collections by the greats — including Pound. These days, New Directions boasts a rich collection of fiction and criticism as well, especially works in translation.

🔥 Hit title: The Emissary by Yoko Tawada and Margaret Mitsutani (translator)

⭐️ Best known for: Literary Fiction, Poetry Collections

💌 Accepts unagented submissions? No

Publisher of: Fiction, Nonfiction, and Poetry

This Minneapolis-based press takes inspiration from its botanical namesake. Just as milkweed feeds the transformation of caterpillars into monarch butterflies, Milkweed Editions supports emerging and experimental writers, giving them a home for their work to flourish. Its catalogue is an exercise in artistic risk-taking: full of intricately textured novels, cerebral and raw memoirs, and some of the finest verse by young poets.

🔥 Hit title: Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer

⭐️ Best known for: Poetry Collections

💌 Accepts unagented submissions? Yes, in the form of Contest Entries . View guidelines →

Publisher of: Fiction, Nonfiction, and Short Fiction

Founded in 2014, this LA-based publisher is relatively young. But it’s already assembled a formidable stable of talent: rising star Esmé Weijun Wang shares shelf space with Booker, Pulitzer, and Philip K Dick Prize winners. Many of their titles are multicultural family dramas, full of complex relationships and pitch-perfect characterization. However, their catalogue ranges beyond literary fiction to embrace highbrow speculative fiction, collections of journalism, and even self-help books.

🔥 Hit title: The Border of Paradise by Esmé Weijun Wang

⭐️ Best known for: Literary Fiction

💌 Accepts unagented submissions? Yes, in the form of Queries. View guidelines →

Publisher of: Fiction and Nonfiction

Brooklyn-based Akashic Books was founded by the post-hardcore bassist Johnny Temple in 1997. It still operates out of the borough’s trendy Old American Can Factory, putting out galleys in the same industrial complex where electronica acts jam and indie painters hang their canvases. But in the last decade, they’ve started selling books all over the country. Dedicated to “reverse-gentrification of the literary world,” they highlight marginalized and anti-establishment authors, giving them an outlet for work considered too niche (or too incendiary) for corporate publishing.

🔥 Hit title: A Tall History of Sugar by Curdella Forbes

⭐️ Best known for: Mysteries, Literary Fiction, Crime Fiction

💌 Accepts unagented submissions? Yes. View guidelines →

Publisher of: Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, and Short Fiction

Founded in 2002, Noemi Press operates out of Blacksburg, Virginia, where it publishes both new and established writers — especially women, queer people, and people of color. Their titles are often described as part something, part something else, and you can fill in the blanks to build all kinds of fascinating, extremely high-brow combos: say “autofiction” and “sequential critical engagement”, or “family gothic” and “queer historiography”. Even books that don’t have this genre mashup quality feel pieced together, in the best way, mixing forms and textures to produce writing that feels wholly new.

🔥 Hit title: Her 37th Year, An Index by Suzanne Scanlon

⭐️ Best known for: Literary Fiction, Memoir

💌 Accepts unagented submissions? Yes, in the form of Contest Entries. View guidelines →

Publisher of: Fiction

Europa Editions' parent company, Edizione E/O, grew out of a failed venture by Italian couple Sandro Ferri and Sandra Ozzala : a bookstore where thinkers with opposing views could meet for peaceful dialogue. When the political discord proved too daunting for polite reading-room tête-à-têtes, the Ferris, now married, pivoted to publishing. Their American publishing house, Europa Editions, is one of the US’s top publishers of fiction in translation, and they’ve produced more than a few NYT bestsellers, including Elena Ferrante's celebrated Neapolitan Novels. (And yes, they've met the mysterious, pseudonymous author face to face.)

🔥 Hit title: My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

⭐️ Best known for: Literary Fiction

💌 Accepts unagented submissions? No

Publisher of: Fiction and Nonfiction

Quirk Books is best known for publishing Seth Grahame-Smith’s brilliant decision to mash up Regency romance and B-movie horror, a title that ultimately became an NYT bestseller — not to mention a Lily James-led film. True to its name, this Philly-based indie press injects a whole lot of whimsy into the literary world. Quirk’s publishing program is unabashedly reader-centric, aiming to produce “objects of delight and desire”. Its titles — from humorous essays on celebrity to LGBT-affirming picture books — are clever, irreverent, and eminently giftable.

🔥 Hit title: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith

⭐️ Best known for: How-To Guides, Humor, Science Fiction & Fantasy, YA

💌 Accepts unagented submissions? Yes, in the form of Book Proposals, Full Manuscripts. View guidelines →

Publisher of: Nonfiction

This edgy, Manchester-based press has furnished a voice for the counterculture since 1991. Originally founded to sell VHS copies of a controversial cult director’s latest release, Headpress hasn’t strayed far from its roots in pulp, grindhouse, and all things indie film. Beyond its sharp criticism of movie genres that don't get a lot mainstream attention, Headpress publishes widely across the spectrum of quirky nonfiction. Look through its list of titles, and you'll see everything from deep cuts on underground music to trippy meditations on European folklore.

🔥 Hit title: Bleeding Skull by Joseph A. Ziemba and Dan Budnik

⭐️ Best known for: Biography, Film, Journalism

💌 Accepts unagented submissions? Yes, in the form of Queries. View guidelines →

Publisher of: Fiction and Nonfiction

EnvelopeBooks is a new independent publishing house founded in the summer of 2020. An offshoot of Booklaunch, a quarterly books and publishing freesheet that makes its way to 50,000 homes per issue, the EnvelopeBooks imprint is dedicated to working with authors to produce high-quality books.

💌 Accepts unagented submissions? Yes, in the form of Full Manuscripts. View guidelines →

Publisher of: Fiction and Nonfiction

This Portland-based indie press is highly literary without being pretentious. Their wheelhouse is fairly broad, focusing on fiction and narrative nonfiction that puts vivid storytelling on display. In practice, that often means character-driven contemporary novels and emotionally rich memoirs that pull you into all the complexities of real-life relationships. You don’t have to write within spitting distance of Forest Park to be published by Hawthorne: they work with authors from all over the country. But, true to their geographic roots, Hawthorne Books has quite a few Oregon-centered titles on their list.

🔥 Hit title: California Calling by Natalie Singer

⭐️ Best known for: How-To Guides

💌 Accepts unagented submissions? No

Publisher of: Nonfiction and Fiction

Independent presses tend to focus on fiction and poetry, but Feral House breaks the mold. Look through their list of publishing topics, and you’ll see post-apocalyptic survival guides under Self-Reliance and gutsy exposés of government corruption under Realpolitik. Needless to say, this isn’t the kind of small press that publishes highbrow short story collections or thoughtful, MFA-inflected novels. Their countercultural sensibility lends itself instead to bold nonfiction (or, occasionally, historical fiction) by unabashed firebrands.

🔥 Hit title: Nightmare of Ecstasy by Rudolph Grey

⭐️ Best known for: Biography, How-To Guides, Journalism

💌 Accepts unagented submissions? Yes, in the form of Manuscript Submission. View guidelines →

Publisher of: Fiction and Nonfiction

This Brooklyn-based outfit specializes in children’s books, as gorgeously illustrated as they’re richly imagined. But their catalogue goes far beyond the big red dogs and very hungry caterpillars you probably remember from your own childhood. That’s not to say that you won’t find any woodland critters cavorting in Enchanted Lion’s titles. But this indie publisher puts a premium on the “power of cultural exchange.” Enchanted Lion excels at putting out picture books set all over the world, many of them translated from languages like French and Japanese.

🔥 Hit title: Cry, Heart, But Never Break by Glenn Ringtved and Charlotte Pardi

⭐️ Best known for: Children's Books

💌 Accepts unagented submissions? Yes, in the form of Full Manuscripts. View guidelines →

Publisher of: Nonfiction, Fiction, and Short Fiction

This micro-press releases no more than four books a year. But their tightly curated list has earned them a reputation for producing fiction and nonfiction that’s as accessible as it is groundbreaking. Future Tense Books’ catalogue might be boundary-pushing, but this publisher’s aesthetic is more DIY than avant-garde. They're equally at home with wry short story collections and raw, unprententious memoirs that delve into darkness head-on.

🔥 Hit title: Excavation by Wendy C. Ortiz

⭐️ Best known for: Literary Fiction, Memoirs

💌 Accepts unagented submissions? No

What is an independent publisher?

An independent publisher is a publisher not affiliated with any big corporations or conglomerates — meaning they operate independently. Think of them as the small businesses of the publishing world: they’re like chic local boutiques compared to the Macy’s and Nordstroms of the Big 5. Indie presses also tend to be small presses, an industry term for publishers making less than $50 million annually.

Independent publishers vs. self-publishers

There’s plenty to ruminate on when it comes to the distinction between indie publishing and self-publishing, but independent publishers are quite different from self-publishers. In a nutshell, indie presses operate on a far smaller scale than the billion-dollar publishing juggernauts, but they still fall under the umbrella of traditional publishing.

Resources for submitting to independent publishers in 2024

Not all independent publishers take unagented submissions, but many of them do, allowing you to cut out the middleman and make your writerly dreams come true all on your own. 

Of course, to make this happen, you'll have to be your project's best advocate. That means writing the best book you can, of course, but you shouldn't stop there — you'll have to study your target press's submissions guidelines and let them guide your next move.

Will you need to craft a killer book proposal, or brush up on your querying technique? Either way, we've got you covered. To give you a push on your path to indie publisher stardom, we've compiled some resources for putting together the perfect submission.

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